Video: Welcome to Abbotsford – April 17, 2020

Promotional - Video | City of Abbotsford - Economic Development

Our vision for this video was to present the future of Abbotsford through a first-person experience. We wanted to put innovation to work for us by creating a video with footage shot with a camera equipped with the latest 360-degree filming technology in conjunction with “Augmented Reality” style overlays to provide the viewer with a futuristic, yet realistic perspective of how Abbotsford could look. We pulled from inspirations on dialogue from the movie “Her” where the main character develops an emotional relationship with his Artificially Intelligent (AI) operating system;

With AI systems in the forms of Google Home or Alexa being found in many people’s homes, this type of interaction with AI is becoming somewhat of the “norm” and most definitely a way of the future. Our AI assistant Clara navigated our hypothetical New Delhi business investor, Mr. Singh through his visit of the City. The video is captured from the perspective of Mr. Singh allowing for the audience to experience Abbotsford as if they were the investor. We felt it was important to create a video that provided this modern and innovative view, but it’s not so far fetched that the vision is unrealistic or unattainable. We wanted to create an investment attraction video that showcased the diversity and growth happening in Abbotsford. By keeping the City of Abbotsford Economic Development (CAED) brand in mind, we re-used some artist renderings of authentic upcoming projects (captured in a previous EDAC award-winning video “Tomorrows Thinking Today”) to paint a picture of how the community is and/or could be developed. We felt the authenticity of the voices to be crucial, so we auditioned men from New Delhi who had a worldly quality to the way they spoke.

Effectiveness/Meeting Objectives
The video is promotional, it has been and will be used ongoing as a strategic investment attraction item. Stats show that Augmented Reality (AR) drives higher levels of attention than any other digital medium. From the moment the video begins the audience is engaged by asking them to put on their AR glasses, essentially placing them in the middle of the action. We wanted the audience to truly experience what Abbotsford has to offer in a way that’s relatable. The projects showcased in the video are meant to demonstrate how Abbotsford is planning for its future growth. How the city is creating infrastructure to adapt to the growth forecast and is encouraging new and expanding businesses to take part in the development of the future of Abbotsford, to “be part of the story”. The airport expansion; construction of a transit line to take commuters to the city centre; the U-district, and how the entire area is being developed into a vibrant urban centre and the cycling and pedestrian bridge. These are all significant infrastructure projects which will alter the landscape of Abbotsford. The selection of such projects was strategic in that some of these projects are currently underway and with the title of the film dating April 17, 2020 we needed the other projects to be within in the scope of the near future.

Challenges & Changes Made
One of the first challenges for our team had was understanding the concept of Augmented Reality and how it differed from the widely known Virtual Reality (VR). AR is a newer experience and the majority of people haven’t incorporated it into their marketing collateral yet, so ensuring that we were utilizing it to its full potential is why we worked closely with our Marketing Contractor, Original Ginger. AR is an image recognition technology that allows you to put a computer-generated overlay over real-life objects. VR implies a complete immersion experience that blocks out the “real” world.

Another challenge was the selection of images to overlay, more specifically the images that “pop” out at the audience. We really wanted to make sure we showcased a broad scope of what Abbotsford has to offer; restaurants and tourist destinations, to industrial and residential development projects, there were even business resources which appeared. We had to go as far as selecting the desired angle of the 360 imagery to make sure it was suitable for that particular spot along Mr. Singh’s journey.

The voice selection for both Clara and Mr. Singh was also difficult. Authenticity is critical when producing a video that is intended to promote your City, especially one with a 27% Indo-Canadian population! So we wanted the characters to be “real”. Auditions were held, and the selection process was time consuming but finding the perfect voice actors was key.

A particular challenge is the amount of information captured in the short video.  We always recommend that you view it on the largest computer screen possible to avoid missing all the cute details; or of course you can just enjoy playing the video multiply times!

Target Audience (demographics)
The video was created as forward-thinking, leveraging the NEXT WAVE of innovative video, to attract investors from a cross section of industries and demographics, not just within Abbotsford but from around the globe. It is being used on our home page and as part of our CAEDtv YouTube channel as further information on Abbotsford.

The video is electronic and is promoted explicitly via e-newsletters and social media. This video acts as a visual ambassador for the Abbotsford community and the content provides another e- tool in our ongoing efforts to position Abbotsford in international markets. We tried to ensure that the video pushed the envelope in production but didn’t date too quickly by being either too narrow in its target audience focus or trendy in its visual effects.

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